The Amazing Spider-Man didn’t capture nearly the same amount of love that Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man did. While there were plenty of people who enjoyed the new take on the wisecracking hero, many felt that it was little more than a tired remake and just another retelling of an origin story that they already knew. With that said, I actually enjoyed the first film. But that’s not to say there weren’t plenty of problems. Most of those problems, as well as those of Spider-Man 3, plagued the trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, placing my anticipation at an all-time low for what has always been Marvel’s biggest character.
The trailers for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would lead you to believe that this is a 10 hour season of an HBO show instead of a two hour movie. While the trailers did make the movie look good, they also made it seem impossible to cram all of the highlighted events into a single comprehensible movie. I can say that, at the very least, there is little room for confusion in the plot. That’s not to say that the plot is particularly spectacular. Just as Spider-Man 3 was bogged down with the unnecessary Venom plot line and the ‘Emo-Spidey‘ hour, The Green Goblin shouldn’t have been in this movie.
The Green Goblin is the Joker to Spider-Man’s Batman, the Red Skull to his Captain America. So much of what makes Spider-Man who he is comes from interactions with the Green Goblin. While I wouldn’t say that a movie has to stay true to the characterizations in the source material, the changes that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 makes to the Green Goblin significantly remove the power of that character and try to turn him into something that he isn’t. It doesn’t help that this is an Electro movie, so beyond one very important scene that happens in the final act, there was no reason for him to be here, beyond setup for a future film.
Jamie Foxx was fantastic as Electro and it’s a shame he didn’t get the sole villain spotlight here. His meek, invisible Max Dillon turned electrical being who just wanted to be noticed was the deep villain that makes Spider-Man one of the best superheroes there is. Even his interactions with Harry Osborn, as unnecessary as he was to the story, felt like the classic villain team-ups that beat poor down Peter even more. As for Paul Giamatti’s Rhino, he’s barely in the movie and serves his part well without further complicating the plot.
Marc Webb has definitely gotten better at directing action and beyond the incredibly obvious, almost cartoonish CGI in the opening scene, Spider-Man moves like you always imagined he would, more so than ever before. What Webb’s real talent lays is in the dialog scenes. Peter and Gwen Stacy have incredible chemistry and every conversation feels real. Andrew Garfield embodies Peter Parker and lets all the quips fly when he’s swinging around as Spidey. As much as I enjoyed the Raimi films, this is the Peter Parker I know and love.
The best Spider-Man movie ever made is hidden within The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but unfortunately it’s obscured behind an underdeveloped, needlessly changed Green Goblin storyline. Even with all of the apparent effort put toward establishing a Sinister Six movie, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 manages to ignore what makes Spider-Man’s villains interesting for him to fight. Despite this, there are still enough enjoyable moments to prevent you from giving up on the franchise. However, judging from the plans Sony has been talking about, expect the Spider-Man film franchise to crash and burn fairly soon if they don’t give the characters and plots room to breath.
In Theaters: May 2, 2014
Runtime: 142 min
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence
Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Studio: Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Official Site: http://www.theamazingspiderman.com/site/
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